The headline out of Soldier Field today is not how the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears to advance to the Super Bowl, but how Chicago quarterback, Jay Cutler, is a loser in more ways than one.
Cutler hurt his knee right before half-time of the NFC Championship game. He played one series in the third quarter, and did not return. After the game, NFL players, former and current, questioned Cutler’s toughness and desire to win. In a postgame interview, Cutler said he wanted to return, but the coaches and medical staff felt his knee was not sturdy enough to last the entire game. Bears head coach, Lovie Smith, confirmed Cutler suffered an MCL sprain and was not allowed to return.
Did anyone in the media consider the fact that Cutler may have actually been injured and wouldn’t be able to perform or even defend himself? Is it so hard to believe a team would not allow a player to further damage his knee and risk not only the game, but his career? Let’s assume the naysayers are correct, and Cutler did not want to return. Just because many NFL players choose the game over the rest of their lives, maybe Cutler values walking without a limp and a life free of pain meds. It takes a stronger man to admit his weakness than to hide his imperfections. The counter argument, of course, is why would Cutler stand on a bad knee for the rest of the game? Shouldn’t he have been off his leg? Shouldn’t he have at least tried to rally his teammates who were playing? Yes and yes, but Jay is who he is. He has never been a rah-rah type of guy.
It may seem like I am defending Cutler. I am not. I just want to explore all possibilities of why a starting quarterback would seemingly quit on his team. I believe the real story is a combination of every scenario discussed. The Bears organization doesn’t appear to question Cutler’s toughness, but maybe it should question his leadership....
Editors Note: Just as this story was submitted for publication, Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported and confirmed earlier reports that Jay Cutler in fact has a grade II MCL sprain/tear, which is usually a 3-4 week injury. While it sounds like the injury won’t require surgery.
If you are looking for how that translates into yesterday’s game and whether or not Cutler could have / should have played through it, on Rome is Burning today, ESPN’s Ross Tucker, who played a seven year career for the Redskins, Cowboys, Bills, Patriots and Browns as an NFL lineman stated when he played, he could play through a grade I sprain, and he couldn’t even stand if he had a grade II or grade III sprain.
A doctor we spoke to stated that Cutler would most likely not have even been able to play in the Super Bowl which is still two weeks away with a grade II MCL sprain/tear.
Hollie is a former Duke Blue Devil and sports aficionado. After four years of dancing for Duke teams, Hollie joined the NFL as a Carolina Panthers TopCat. Hollie has now made the leap from sideline cheerleader to sideline reporter covering sports for Around and About Orange County News in southern California.
You may email Hollie directly at [email protected]
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